Household Rolls Out Revamped GM Card

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. - Household International relaunched the General Motors cobranded credit card with a raise in the discount that cardholders may earn towards the purchase of a new vehicle.Under the previous program, cardholders could earn only $500 in rebates each year, up to $3,500 over seven years. The new program eliminates the time restrictions and raises the rebate amount. For example, cardholders may earn anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 in rebates, depending on the type of vehicle they want to buy and they can do so during any time period.

Household spokesman Stan Stein said cardholders in the previous program stopped using their cards after they reached the $500 annual limit. The new General Motors program is meant to encourage customers to keep spending. Other changes to the program include the addition of a platinum card program and travel and entertainment partners at which cardholders may redeem their points. The partners include OnStar, Loews Theatres, American Airlines, and Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

"The new GM card is a direct response to customer feedback telling us they don't want a cap on their annual earnings," said Charly Vickery, the General Motors manager of the program. "At a time when others have abandoned their reward credit card businesses, GM remains committed to the GM card."

- Lisa Fickenscher


27 More Financial Holding Companies Born

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday released a list of 27 banking companies including two huge European firms that have converted to financial holding companies, the vehicle created by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to combine banking, securities, and insurance products.This was the second, and last, time the Fed plans to announce new financial holding companies. In the future, the agency plans to post this information on its Web site at www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/fhc/.

The first list was released March 13 when the new law took effect and contained 117 companies, including the largest U.S. banks. Some Europeans criticized the Fed because only five foreign banking companies gained approvals in the first round. Thursday's list includes Credit Suisse Group of Zurich and Deutsche Bank AG of Frankfurt.


Citigroup, Indian Publisher in Web Venture

BOMBAY - Indiatimes.com, a Web site owned by India's largest publishing company, said Thursday that it has a deal to create a joint venture with Citigroup Inc. to create an Indian financial services Internet portal.Citigroup would pay an undisclosed amount for a 40% equity stake in the site, which would offer mostly business-to-business services.

"We are happy to bring to the table the full power of Citigroup, in terms of customer understanding and relationship management," said Nanoo Pamnani, country head of Citibank, in the Indiatimes.com statement.

Indiatimes.com is owned by Times of India Group. This year the parent said it intends to spin off its Internet businesses into a separately traded public company this summer.

- Louis Whiteman

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